After 36 years, kulang pa rin ebidensya: SC ruling ends PCGG’s pursuit against Lucio Tan and Marcos family

The Supreme Court has affirmed the Sandiganbayan’s decision to dismiss the ill-gotten wealth case filed by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) against ultra bilyonaryo Lucio Tan and the estate of former president Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

The SC en banc ruled that the PCGG failed to prove that Tan’s business empire flourished flourished from the concessions granted by Marcos Sr. during his term with Tan acting as a mere dummy of these companies for Marcos Sr.

“None of the pieces of evidence relied upon by the Republic was successful in establishing the manner by which respondents allegedly acquired ill-gotten wealth. It was not shown, through these pieces of evidence, if and how respondents took undue advantage of their office, authority, influence, connections, or relationship,” the SC said in a 62-page ruling.

The comprehensive definition of ill-gotten wealth was applied, but the SC said the evidence relied upon by PCGG failed to establish all its elements, with some pieces even of doubtful admissibility.

In 2012, the Sandiganbayan ruled that the PCGG failed to prove that Marcos Sr. was the real owner of Tan’s vast business holdings. The PCGG filed the case in 1987.

Marcos Sr. was represented in the case by his wife, former First Lady Imelda Marcos, his son, current President Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr., and his daughters Senator Imee Marcos-Manotoc and Irene Araneta. Aside from Tan, the other defendants in the case include his brother, Mariano Tanenglian, his wife Carmen Kao Tan, and Don Ferry.

The entities covered by the ill-gotten wealth case are Shareholdings, Inc., Asia Brewery, Allied Bank, Fortune Tobacco, Maranaw Hotels, Virginia Tobacco Redrying Plant, Northern Tobacco Redrying Plant, Foremost Farms, Sipalay Trading, Himmel Industries, Grandspan Development Corp. ), Basic Holdings Corp, Progressive Farms, Inc., Manufacturing Services and Trade Corp., Allied Leasing & Finance Corp., Jewel Holdings, Inc., Iris Holdings and Development Corp., and Virgo Holdings and Development Corp.

The SC also upheld the Sandiganbayan’s resolution from December 22, 2010, dismissing the ill-gotten wealth case against respondents Don Ferry and Cesar Zalamea related to the anomalous Sipalay deal.

Furthermore, the SC dismissed the PCGG’s petition seeking to reverse the Sandiganbayan’s resolutions from July 8 and August 23, 2011, denying the admission of a third amended complaint.

This complaint aimed to include Philip Morris, Fortune Tobacco, and several other individuals as respondents, alleging fraudulent transfer of substantial capital and assets from respondents Fortune Tobacco and Northern Tobacco to PMFTC.

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